Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators
Four-year-old Blitzembye, described by his owner Jim Giumelli as a bargain buy, caused an upset when he beat his better credentialled stablemate and $1.12 favourite Ragazzo Mach in the $22,000 Follow @Gloucesterpark On Twitter Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Blitzembye, trained by Mike Reed and driven for the first time by Gary Hall Jnr, was the $7 second fancy from barrier two, and he trailed the pacemaking Ragazzo Mach until Hall eased him off the pegs with 220m to travel.
After a 28.6sec. third quarter, Ragazzo Mach, driven by Shannon Suvaljko, increased the tempo with a final 400m of 27.5sec., but he failed to hold out the fast-finishing Blitzembye, who got to the front in the final 10m and won by a neck at a 1.57.8 rate over the 2130m journey.
Giumelli paid a substantial price for Ragazzo Mach in February last year, and he and Reed went to New Zealand four months later to watch him contest the rich group 1 Emerald at Cambridge on June 6.
Two nights before the big race Reed and Giumelli were at the meetings at Auckland’s Alexandra Park where they were advised to keep an eye on Blitzembye in a 2200m event.
“A bloke told me that Blitzembye would be worth buying, and that we should watch him race,” said Reed. “Blitzembye galloped at the start and lost about 50 metres before he caught up and went three wide racing into the bell and three wide down the back straight before he finished strongly to be a close second to Captain Nemo (with the final 800m off the front being covered in 56.3sec.).
“The next morning Jim and I had a coffee and rang the owner, telling him we would be prepared to pay $120,000 for Blitzembye, and after some thought the owner agreed to sell him.”
The deal went through, and Giumelli said: “It was a steal.” Blitzembye now has raced 15 times for Giumelli’s Swandoo Harness Racing syndicate for nine wins, two placings and $70,484 in stakes, after having had eight starts in New Zealand for two wins and two placings.
Blitzembye is by Bettors Delight and is out of the unraced mare Falcon’s Flybye, who is a daughter of Fleet’s Pocket, the dam of former wonderful performer Mighty Flying Thomas, who retired after contesting 226 races for 24 wins, 56 placings and stakes of $354,622. His final 18 wins were in WA for trainer Peter Anderson.
Blitzembye, a small, nuggetty pacer, has given Reed no problems about his New Zealand habit of galloping at the start, and he and Ragazzo Mach will be aimed at the rich classics for four-year-olds later this year, including the $125,000 Four-Year-Old Classic and the $200,000 Golden Nugget.
Giumelli and Reed agree that Ragazzo Mach is a more talented pacer than Blitzembye, with Reed saying: “Ragazzo Mach needs more racing to get to his top. If I had to rate them out of a hundred, I’d rate Ragazzo Mach a hundred and Blitzembye eighty.”